Kodak Box Brownie
It’s fair to say the Brownie popularised photography among the masses more than any other camera of its time. Launched in 1900 for the grand price of $1, it was extremely simple in design: a box (made of cardboard in early editions) with a lens on one side. And perhaps even simpler to use, hence Kodak’s slogan, “You push the button, we do the rest.”
Canon EOS 5D MkII
The 5D MkII, an updated version of Canon’s full frame 5D DSLR, improved on its predecessor in a number of ways – but adding the ability to record full HD video was the game-changer. Finally, amateur filmmakers could use a range of high quality lenses without having to shell out huge sums of money. And the 5D MkII proved popular with more than just the amateurs: it has been used to film an entire episode of US TV show House, as well as parts of movies like Drive and The Avengers.
No, it’s not a “camera” as we know it, but this device is certainly one of the most important precursors to photography: it’s a dark box or room with a small hole in one side, through which an image travels and is then reproduced on a surface as a projection, upside down but otherwise perfectly accurate. It’s this same principle as a photographic camera – but has been around since at least 400BC.
[Image courtesy of Flickr user 1banaan]
The twin lens reflex Rolleiflex (one lens is for taking photos, one is for the viewfinder) was well built and offered excellent image quality, and its size and speed meant it proved popular with street, sports and press photographers – in fact Robert Capa snapped some of his most famous World War II photos with a Rolleiflex.
Nokia 808 Pureview
Released earlier this year, the 808 Pureview offers a new type of camera on a phone: one that takes huge shots (up to 38MP). This gargantuan resolution means that you can crop images – or “zoom in” – and still achieve great results. The phone itself is average (check out our review) but we can’t wait to see Nokia squeeze the stunning sensor into a classier device.